I remember when I was 20ish, I had a job that had me face to face with hundreds of people a day. I worked at a Tourist Information Center for the State of Wyoming, and travelers would stop in all day to get out of their cars and stretch their legs, but also to ask for directions or suggestions of things to do in Cheyenne. I didn’t realize it at first, but I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was instantly comparing myself to each woman that would walk through the door. I was measuring what I thought about her looks against what I thought about mine. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I was reducing these women to an object without any knowledge of their lives, their details and intricacies. Maybe it’s just me, but I bet it isn’t. We are SUCH a visual culture. We make assumptions about people’s lives solely based on the way they look. If you happen to be “heavier” than what society declares perfection, you may have it the most difficult.
Around that same time I realized I was constantly comparing myself to other women, I became very ill…like I almost died. It took doctors a long time to figure out what was going on, and in the meantime, I was wasting away. I kept losing weight everyday. At first, doctors thought I might have an eating disorder, but quickly realized that wasn’t the case. My blood count was super low and I just kept getting weaker and weaker. The awful thing is, when I saw people, they mentioned how great I looked! I had lost a ton of weight and they were just noticing my weight loss, not recognizing that it was because my body was not functioning properly! After several months, doctors diagnosed me with an auto-immune disease that affects the arteries. I was put on high doses of Prednisone, which quickly made me feel better, but also quickly changed my appearance. Typically on this medication, the patient’s face becomes very enlarged, often called “moon-face”. The limbs remain unchanged, but the belly is swollen. I looked like a different person, and having just been very sick, my arms and legs were toothpicks, but because of the medicine, my face and belly were huge. It was awful. The thing that I learned though, is how people treat someone who isn’t “beautiful” according to societal standards. I went out for coffee with my cute sister, and where I had been accustomed to being treated very well by others, the barista basically acted as if I didn’t exist and only chatted with my sister. It was a huge revelation to me…our culture values “looks” above almost anything.
This was over twenty years ago, and unfortunately I think this has only compounded. Social media has embraced the “lovely” and put it in front of our faces around the clock. It’s difficult to get away from anyone’s highlight reel without a deliberate decision to do so. We see the BEST of everybody’s lives and measure ourselves against what we see (just like me in the Tourist Information Center, but 100x tougher to get away from).
What’s the answer? I’m not completely sure, but I think a good start is awareness. Just like I believe God revealed to me my heart of comparison and judgment, recognizing that this is what we naturally tend to do is a big step in the right direction. Make an effort to see those people that perhaps get missed because they’re not stunning; The plain person that has more important things to worry about than fashion and makeup. I still catch myself making those decisions about people based on nothing else than their outward appearance. Let’s join together and build each other up and actually SEE each other for who we are and the purpose we’ve been created for. It may seem like a sales pitch, but this is truly what The Wholeness Gathering is all about. My heart is to absolutely welcome every. single. woman. that walks through the door of the event. I want each person to walk in and instantly feel valued, important, and respected. If you haven’t gotten your ticket for our event on October 12, 2019 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, don’t hesitate! Tickets are 30% off right now (with offer codeTWG30), through September 15, and there is a limited amount of people that can attend. I hope to see you there, and tell you in person how valuable you are! Click here for tickets!